STAFFORDSHIRE'S most senior police officer has warned that enforcement action will be taken against anyone not complying with the new Covid-19 lockdown rules that come into effect from Monday (Sept 14).
From next week, anyone caught at mass gatherings could be handed a dispersal order, fined £100 or even arrested.
Previously, up to 30 people could meet in a socially distanced capacity.
The number of people families can now meet up with has also been reduced to six.
The new changes affecting social distancing are being introduced following a rise in coronavirus cases across the UK in recent days
Staffordshire Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, pictured, said:" As we are seeing both nationally and closer to home, Coronavirus continues to be a real threat to communities and our way of life. The Prime Minister’s announcement today will bring in new restrictions from Monday.
“It is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions in place which include social distancing and increased hygiene measures, as well as those covering social gatherings which will be limited to six people both indoors and outside. Details of the changes will be made public ahead of Monday as part of the renewed efforts to keep people safe.
“This continues to be a joint effort between the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and all partners including local businesses, and I want to again thank the vast majority of the public who are continuing to follow these rules.
“Officers will continue to be out in communities - engaging, explaining and encouraging people to act responsibly. We will take enforcement action where necessary but the efforts of the public over the past few months have meant police officers have rarely had to enforce the Government regulations here in Staffordshire and I continue to be grateful for the approach of so many people who have heeded previous messages – thank you.
"I am confident the vast majority will continue to do as asked and follow the latest guidance on gatherings as we work together to control the virus and keep people safe.”